Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Colds and the Flu and the Mass

Jimmy Akin has an article, about the Bishops' Committee on Liturgy recommendation that those with signs of colds or the flu should stay home from Mass. Clearly, communicable illness is a valid reason for not observing the Sunday Obligation.

But as Catholics do we believe what is written in John 6, that we ought to receive the Bread of Life? Shouldn't we encourage attendance?

However, I happen to know that many talented young artists and architects read Rome of the West, and I am sure that they are clever enough to come up with an alternative to just not showing up to Mass, since Catholics ought to be generous and take their Sunday Obligation very seriously.

Medieval churches sometimes had hagioscopes, or lepers' windows, which would allow those with communicable diseases to attend Mass and receive the Eucharist without coming in contact with other worshipers.

Instead of just a window in the outside wall, a modern hagioscope could be in a room, separate from the rest of the church with its own entrance. Artistically, such a room could have many devotional images and relics associated with healing. Cry rooms are very widespread, but this kind of room makes more sense, for crying is an annoyance that Catholics ought to get used to, while disease is truly harmful.

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